The Vietnam War

( 4 )


When Senator Edward Kennedy declared, “Iraq is George Bush’s Vietnam,” everyone understood. The Vietnam War has become the touchstone for U.S. military misadventures—a war lost on the home front although never truly lost on the battlefront. During the pivotal decade of 1962 to 1972, U.S. involvement rose from a few hundred advisers to a fighting force of more than one million. This same period saw the greatest schism in American society since the Civil War, a generational divide pitting mothers and fathers ...

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When Senator Edward Kennedy declared, “Iraq is George Bush’s Vietnam,” everyone understood. The Vietnam War has become the touchstone for U.S. military misadventures—a war lost on the home front although never truly lost on the battlefront. During the pivotal decade of 1962 to 1972, U.S. involvement rose from a few hundred advisers to a fighting force of more than one million. This same period saw the greatest schism in American society since the Civil War, a generational divide pitting mothers and fathers against sons and daughters who protested the country’s ever-growing military involvement in Vietnam. Meanwhile, well-intentioned decisions in Washington became operational orders with tragic outcomes in the rice paddies, jungles, and villages of Southeast Asia. Through beautifully rendered artwork, The Vietnam War: A Graphic History depicts the course of the war from its initial expansion in the early 1960s through the evacuation of Saigon in 1975, and what transpired at home, from the antiwar movement and the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. to the Watergate break-in and the resignation of a president.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Winner of the 2010 Gold Medal in the Artistic/Graphic category from the Military Writers Society of America


1st Place Winner of the 2010 Branson Stars and Flags Book Award (Photography / Graphics)


“Zimmerman and Vansant do a memorable job . . . A painstaking and even-handed tour of the politics and the strategic mistakes, the battles and the protests, the lives lost and the lessons learned.” —The Arizona Republic


“This book has not only answered so many questions for me, but it has encapsulated the entire scope of the war into such easily digested segments without ever once feeling pedantic. I’m loving it for being so ambitious and respecting it for accomplishing it with such aplomb. I would have that what writer Dwight Jon Zimmerman and artist Wayne Vansant have done would be incredibly difficult, but they make it look quite easy.” —John Hogan, Graphic Novel Reporter


“Zimmerman’s writing and Vansant’s inkwash portraits and landscapes clearly lay out important stages of the war from an entirely U.S. point of view . . . the author and illustrator do an excellent job of taking readers through the military decisions and actions of the U.S. and North Vietnam.” —Suzi Steffen, Eugene Weekly


“I’ve waited years for a graphic novel like this—an historic account of the Vietnam War—and Dwight Jon Zimmerman and Wayne Vansant expertly deliver it! Over the years pop culture has dealt with Vietnam artistically, mainly in film, offering personalized perspectives of this troubling time. The Vietnam War: A Graphic History instead is focused on the facts, and the actual war itself—which is an incredibly gripping tale. With the state of the world today, the lessons of Vietnam are more relevant than ever before, making The Vietnam War: A Graphic History a must-read graphic novel for all ages!” —Jim Salicrup, Papercutz Editor-in-Chief and Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Trustee


“Zimmerman and Vansant lead the reader though the military, political and social history of an incredibly complex topic. They show the North Vietnamese as well as the American viewpoints, and the successes and failures of both sides. No one book can properly tell the history of the Vietnam war, but Mr. Zimmerman and Mr. Vansant’s graphic history is a valuable introduction to the conflict.” —Larry Bond, bestselling author and game designer of Harpoon


The Vietnam War: A Graphic History is an innovative way to present a complex period in American history. Using actual dialogue with illustrations of the personalities involved, it brings the people and the events to life.” —Philip Caputo, author of A Rumor of War


“Dwight Zimmerman and Wayne Vansant treat the complicated and controversial history of America’s war in Vietnam with clarity and sensitivity in this graphic history. For those new to the story, it is a concise yet comprehensive and vivid overview; for those who remember the war, it is a stunning retrospective.” —Craig L. Symonds, author of Lincoln and His Admirals


“Dwight Jon Zimmerman and Wayne Vansant have created a truly graphic history of America’s tragic misadventure in Vietnam. They show the mistaken assumptions, failed policies, and hubris that doomed American efforts to prevent a Communist takeover of South Vietnam.  At the same time they maintain a balanced presentation that leans to neither the pro-war nor anti-war side in this country’s most divisive conflict.” —James M. McPherson , author of Battle Cry of Freedom


“An emotionally moving combination of graphics and text clearly describing the events that led up to a war and years of bloodshed, which threatened the unity of the American people.”—Joe Kubert, author of Fax from Sarajevo and Yossel


“You are not likely to find a more balanced, comprehensive, and accurate—yet marvelously accessible—overview of the Vietnam War than Dwight Zimmerman’s and Wayne Vansant’s graphic history. If you want a good introduction to that war, don’t go to Wikipedia; go here.” —Tony Koltz, coauthor of The Battle for Peace

Publishers Weekly

This illustrated history examines the progression of the Vietnam War, but the lack of attention to the personal experiences of soldiers and civilians on every side leaves it an incomplete view of the conflict. The major military campaigns, the political choices made on the American home front and the rise and effect of the antiwar campaign are all clearly explained. These controversial events are covered objectively, discussing what was done well without ignoring the terrible mistakes. But the book focuses on the American perspective, paying much less attention to the governments of North and South Vietnam and barely any to the experiences of the people of either nation. Given that the book acknowledges the war was decided by North Vietnamese citizens not surrendering as easily as American strategists had planned, this is a major oversight. In addition, telling the story of the Vietnam War, a conflict heavily documented in color photography, through black and white illustration seems questionable, as does glossing over some of the horrors of war with comics clichés. A decent starting point for someone looking to begin to understand a significant event in living American history, as long as more study follows. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809094950
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 9/15/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 676,692
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Dwight Jon Zimmerman has written on military subjects for the Naval Institute Press, Vietnam magazine, and the Faircount Publication’s ongoing series of military-themed magazines, and has served as the co–executive producer of the Discovery Channel’s miniseries First Command, which was based on his book of the same name. His The Book of War won the 2009 Gold Award for Reference by the Military Writers Society of America. Zimmerman has served as an editor at Byron Preiss Visual Publications, Topps Comics, and Marvel Comics. Wayne Vansant served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War before earning his degree from the Atlanta College of Art. Vansant oversaw Marvel’s Vietnam War comic The ’Nam, which he worked on for approximately five years, illustrating more than fifty issues. Since working on The ’Nam, he has scripted and illustrated countless graphic books on the subject of military history, from the American Civil War to the Korean War.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 3 of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2010

    2010 Gold Medal Award Military Writers Society of America

    Zimmerman and Vansant's groundbreaking graphic history of the Vietnam War received the 2010 Gold Medal Award in the Artistic/Graphic category.

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  • Posted December 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Well researced, well written, and wonderfully illustrated!

    THE VIETNAM WAR: A GRAPHIC HISTORY is an outstanding chronicle of the Vietnam War, presented in a unique and visually stimulating way. It is well researched, well written, and superbly illustrated. It explains the tactical, strategic, and political decision making that made the war so unique and so infamous among the armed conflicts of our nation's history.

    As I read through it, I immediately noted how valuable the book would be in explaining to the younger, more visually driven generations the circumstances of and around the Vietnam War. In a matter of hours, a teenager could have a solid footing and decent understanding of a military conflict that has been overshadowed recently by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I especially respect the way Zimmerman and Vansant avoid overly gory or violent depictions, further adding to both the educational value and juvenile appeal of the work.

    Vietnam veterans may find themselves giving this book as a gift to younger persons in their families to help explain the background behind the war, and to help interested family members better understand the language, situations, and climate both in the field and at home during that time.

    Well done, educational, and enjoyable from start to finish.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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